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June 30, 2022

US Supreme Court officially swaps one former US Sentencing Commissioner for another

There is, of course, much more to say about today's historic transition in Supreme Court personnel than what I have flagged in my post title.  But, as one ever keen to keep a focus on sentencing issues, I kind of like my framing of this afternoon's SCOTUS news:

Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn as an associate justice of the Supreme Court on Thursday, officially taking her place in history as the first Black woman to serve on the nation's highest court.

"We're here today to administer the oaths of office to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to become an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States," Chief Justice John Roberts said at the start of the ceremony, acknowledging the oaths will allow Jackson to begin her work "without any further delay."

In a brief ceremony at the Supreme Court that was broadcast live, Jackson first took the constitutional oath, administered by Roberts, followed by the judicial oath, administered by now-retired Justice Stephen Breyer. Breyer's retirement from the high court was made official at noon on Thursday, paving the way for Jackson, his former clerk, to fill his seat.

"On behalf of all of the members of the court, I am pleased to welcome Justice Jackson to the court and to our common calling," Roberts said, as applause broke out. Jackson took the oaths with her hand on two Bibles held by her husband, Patrick: a family Bible, and the "Harlan" Bible, which Justice John Marshall Harlan donated to the court in 1906.

In attendance for the swearing in were most of Jackson's new colleagues: Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, as well as former Justice Anthony Kennedy.

In a statement distributed by the court, Jackson, 51, thanked Roberts and Breyer, calling him a "personal friend and mentor" for 20 years. She said she is "well-positioned to serve the American people." "With a full heart, I accept the solemn responsibility of supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States and administering justice without fear or favor, so help me God," she said. "I am truly grateful to be part of the promise of our great nation. I extend my sincerest thanks to all of my new colleagues for their warm and gracious welcome."

Breyer extended congratulations to the newest justice. "I am glad today for Ketanji. Her hard work, integrity, and intelligence have earned her a place on this court. I am glad for my fellow justices. They gain a colleague who is empathetic, thoughtful, and collegial. I am glad for America," he said in a statement. "Ketanji will interpret the law wisely and fairly, helping that law to work better for the American people, whom it serves."

June 30, 2022 at 01:16 PM | Permalink

Comments

I'm sorry to see Breyer go. Good guy, modest, friendly, never pulled rank, has a wicked sense of humor. But I have to note that, with his departure, the Court has now lost its last member who thought, and was willing to say publicly, that the DP is impermissible in all circumstances. I suspect Jackson and Sotomayor think pretty much the same thing, but have never said so that I know about.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 30, 2022 1:39:01 PM

Breyer did affirmative harm to criminal defendants and KBJ did mostly nothing to help. Institutionalists.

Posted by: whatever | Jul 1, 2022 11:23:43 AM

Bill,

And Breyer knows what a woman is, so there is that.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jul 1, 2022 2:46:32 PM

TarlsQtr --

Since Dobbs came down, EVERYBODY seems to know what a woman is.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 1, 2022 5:49:19 PM

And Breyer knows what a woman is, so there is that.

Posted by: Costumes | Jul 2, 2022 8:43:55 AM

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